AFF Gathering #15 in NTL on 22 – 24 October 2021

Added to Calendar: 22-10-21, 23-10-21, 24-10-21


1-Newcastle-Header.jpg
Newcastle has been chosen as the AFF Annual Gathering destination for 2021, occurring over the weekend of the 22nd to 24th October. The average temperature range for October is 14.1ºC – 22.1ºC. The average rainfall is 72.5mm with 11 rainy days. It is NSW's second most populated area and Australia's seventh most populous, representing 1.95% of Australia.

The weekend is likely to take in a wine tour, owing to the proximity of the Hunter Valley. Please note if you are interested in attending a wine tour when indicating your interest for the weekend as this will help organisers make a good start on venues that can cater to our group size.

The lead organiser this year is a member that has turned up to many previous events, @Bindibuys.

Members that have offered help include: @support @straitman @Princess Fiona



Tentative Attendees + Activities​

This list simply indicates and interest in attending the event and additionally, the wine tour. Members are in order of response to the thread and are not ranked from silver to platinum (least likely to most likely to attend).

UsernameWine Tour?
I love to travelYes
Major
Lynda2475Yes
AIRwin
kpc
Doug_WestcottYes
samh004Yes
TownsendYes
Townsend +1Yes
MattgYes
kookaburra75Yes
kookaburra75 +1Yes
Matt_01Yes
oz_mark
DrakeculaYes
Drakecula +1
NMYes
NM +1
EijaYes
RooFlyerYes
tuapekastarYes
serfty
JessicaTamYes
CaptJCool
SprucegooseYes
Port PowerYes
Jacques VertYes
Gem56Yes
ellen10
Hvr
Major
Major +1
justinbrett
SimoYes
motefYes
motef +1Yes
sharpinjrYes
sharpinjr +1Yes
FifaYes
Princess Fiona
AdeYes
 
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AIRwin

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I know those who attended last year's wine tour in Canberra had a good time, and I was disappointed not to be able to join that one.
We weren't good enough company?!
 

justinbrett

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I'm a Newcastle local so pretty interested unless something else comes up - will pass on the wine tour though, I've done them to death. Happy to help with local advice / scouting if required.

The Rydges by the water I am told is quite decent, but a local will point us in the right direction.
I live about 500m from this hotel - used to be the Crowne Plaza. Location wise it's perfect, right in the middle of Honeysuckle which is the main restaurant / bar precinct by the water, and close to the Light Rail. It's quite lowset so I'd imagine it's quite noisy. Most of the airline crew stay here.

The other hotel I'd recommend is Novotel which is near the beach. It's only about 10 years old and is in a really good location just minutes from the beach - but this is a much quieter part of the city. Also close to the end of the Light Rail line. Some restaurants nearby but the bulk of it is along the harbour which is 15-20 minute walk or light rail ride. I have stayed here before (got put up by the government for free for a week when they were doing some light rail installation) and it's your typical modern four star Novotel.

Do not stay at the Airport Hotel (Mecure). Newcastle Airport / RAAF Williamtown have almost no facilities nearby and a 30 minute drive from town, I would only use as a last resort.
 

Sprucegoose

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I'm a Newcastle local so pretty interested unless something else comes up - will pass on the wine tour though, I've done them to death. Happy to help with local advice / scouting if required.


I live about 500m from this hotel - used to be the Crowne Plaza. Location wise it's perfect, right in the middle of Honeysuckle which is the main restaurant / bar precinct by the water, and close to the Light Rail. It's quite lowset so I'd imagine it's quite noisy. Most of the airline crew stay here.

The other hotel I'd recommend is Novotel which is near the beach. It's only about 10 years old and is in a really good location just minutes from the beach - but this is a much quieter part of the city. Also close to the end of the Light Rail line. Some restaurants nearby but the bulk of it is along the harbour which is 15-20 minute walk or light rail ride. I have stayed here before (got put up by the government for free for a week when they were doing some light rail installation) and it's your typical modern four star Novotel.

Do not stay at the Airport Hotel (Mecure). Newcastle Airport / RAAF Williamtown have almost no facilities nearby and a 30 minute drive from town, I would only use as a last resort.
Good information Mr Brett. I think the Rydges is it.
 

Lynda2475

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I looked at Rydges but looks like they only have bath/shower combos, a trip hazard Im not a fan of. I have a fully flexible booking at Novotel and will keep an eye out for better options if needed as it gets closer.

Assuming we dont need to worry about any of the Newcastle Hotels having been used for Covid HQ as NTL isnt an international airport?
 
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justinbrett

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I looked at Rydges but looks like they only have bath/shower combos, a trip hazard Im not a fan of. I have a fully flexible booking at Novotel and will keep an eye out for better options if needed as it gets closer.

Another option is Honeysuckle Executive Apartments or Chiefly Apartments Newcastle (same building, same reception) - you can get one bedroom apartments quite reasonably priced and you get a full bathroom (no shower/tub combo) and a kitchen.

It's just down the road from the Rydges and very modern. I've stayed there before whilst moving house and I'd highly recommend it.


Assuming we dont need to worry about any of the Newcastle Hotels having been used for Covid HQ as NTL isnt an international airport?

From last year, the only time people quarantined in NTL was either maritime arrivals (Newcastle is one of the largest ports in the country) or RAAF personnel arriving from overseas. But who knows what 2021 will bring us. NTL isn't really set up as a tourist city yet (still in transition from the Steel City) so there really isn't enough hotel rooms to run organised hotel quarantine like they are running in Sydney, so I don't see it happening.
 

motef

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I'm keen to attend but will not bother with wine tour as Hunter reds generally do not inspire me.
If you the Hunter Valley is just about big busty reds your missing out.

Please put me and the bride to be as a yes.

We are both a yes to the wine tour as well

As I live in Newcastle (born and bred) I am willing to assist in the organisation. Actually I am sitting at Margan winery in the Hunter Valley as I type this.

This may be of interest to some. They have just commenced from near my home.

Joy Air | Joy Flights Over Lake Macquarie
 

serfty

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If you the Hunter Valley is just about big busty reds your missing out.
Been there done that (including wine tours there), the busty reds generally do not do it for me. Mt last wine trip there was a couple of years ago as part of FlyerTalk OzFest.
 
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support

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I have updated the list to this point. Looks like we have 23 interested in a wine tour so far, out of a total 37 interested in the event itself. I think that's a pretty good start.

Member @Bindibuys has generously agreed to take the lead, but will need help from others to add the various parts together.

At this stage, the biggest thing we need to lock in are two restaurants. The Saturday night has generally been the primary night, as previous attendees will attest. We are generally looking for a private space so a guest speaker can be heard and does not annoy other diners with their speech. Alternate drop is to be discouraged, but sharing plates works quite well. A cash/plastic (😉) bar is preferred. Suggestions?
 

kookaburra75

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I'm a Newcastle local so pretty interested unless something else comes up - will pass on the wine tour though, I've done them to death. Happy to help with local advice / scouting if required.


I live about 500m from this hotel - used to be the Crowne Plaza. Location wise it's perfect, right in the middle of Honeysuckle which is the main restaurant / bar precinct by the water, and close to the Light Rail. It's quite lowset so I'd imagine it's quite noisy. Most of the airline crew stay here.

The other hotel I'd recommend is Novotel which is near the beach. It's only about 10 years old and is in a really good location just minutes from the beach - but this is a much quieter part of the city. Also close to the end of the Light Rail line. Some restaurants nearby but the bulk of it is along the harbour which is 15-20 minute walk or light rail ride. I have stayed here before (got put up by the government for free for a week when they were doing some light rail installation) and it's your typical modern four star Novotel.
Thanks for the suggestions on places to stay. MrsK and I are booked to stay the two nights prior at the Hunter Resort (using a gift voucher), and have booked to stay in Newcastle on Fri & Sat nights.

But, a lot of places are booked out already on that weekend, such as the Honeysuckle and Chifley Apartments, and quite a few other places as well - and prices for the ones that are available reflect that too. Jimmy Barnes, Hoodoo Gurus, Jon Stevens are playing at the Roche Estate in the Hunter Valley, so that might have something to do with it. We've booked into Noah's On The Beach and will use the Light Rail to get around.
 

justinbrett

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Noah’s is a good location but a bit old.

I’m not sure the apartments are booked out, I don’t think they’re open for bookings yet.
 

kookaburra75

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I’m not sure the apartments are booked out, I don’t think they’re open for bookings yet.
That could be it. They show up as "Not available through the site" in Booking.com But when I check their website, I can see that they're only accepting bookings up to 19 Sep - I just have to wait another month. I can cancel the booking at Noah's - I've stayed there years ago and as you say, it's a good location but getting a bit old.
 
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